Animation of dopamine

Virtual company to create new Parkinson’s treatments

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On 8 March 2017, Parkinson's UK and the University of Sheffield launched a £1 million virtual biotech company to create new treatments for Parkinson's.

In a partnership that is the first of its kind, Keapstone Therapeutics will combine world-leading research from the University with funding and expertise from the charity to develop new treatments.

Creating drugs to combat oxidative stress

Oxidative stress happens when there are too many damaging molecules called free radicals inside our bodies.

Our primary goal is the creation of new treatments to improve the lives of people with Parkinson's
Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson's UK

It causes damage to our cells and tissues and is believed to play a key role in the death of brain cells in Parkinson's. 

Researchers have pinpointed a way to trigger a possible in-built defence system that helps protect brain cells from oxidative stress.

Dr Richard Mead at the University of Sheffield has already identified small 'drug-like' molecules that can activate these defences.

Now, Keapstone Therapeutics will further develop these molecules, which could eventually become new drugs that can slow or stop the progression of Parkinson's.

A unique approach

The creation of Keapstone Therapeutics is part of our Parkinson's Virtual Biotech venture, formed to rapidly develop and test treatments with the potential to transform life for people with Parkinson's.

Director of Research at Parkinson's UK, Arthur Roach, said:

"This major new programme of work will allow us to act in a similar way to a small biotech company. However, unlike a commercial company, our primary goal is the creation of new treatments to improve the lives of people with Parkinson's.

"By seeking early collaboration with a University in the creation of a spin-out biotech company, we will be able to investigate and develop potential Parkinson's treatments with an intensity that is unprecedented for a charity."